Sonic 4 is part old, part new – but all fun

Oct 8, 2010
Games

The arrival of Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode I ($9.99) on the iPhone this Thursday is noteworthy for a number of reasons: Not only is it the first Sonic game initially available in the App store, but it’s also the first time Sega has released a game on iOS devices before any other gaming system. […]

The arrival of Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode I ($9.99) on the iPhone this Thursday is noteworthy for a number of reasons: Not only is it the first Sonic game initially available in the App store, but it’s also the first time Sega has released a game on iOS devices before any other gaming system.

For a game that has that many firsts attached to it, Sonic 4 sure feels like it belongs right along with any other game from this classic series.

That’s because despite the occasional new feature, all the important elements of a Sonic game are included. The gameplay is still frenetic, there are three acts in each zone, and your main moves remain the spin dash attack and the homing attack.

Those who played the app versions of Sonic 1 or Sonic 2 will notice a number of improvements. No longer tied to true-to-the-original graphics, this version of the series looks much better. While the full screen modes in the first two games left plenty to be desired, Sonic 4 is made to fit an iPhone’s screen, and offers more-detailed and smoother graphics.

Also gone are the old-school genesis style controls, replaced with a single joystick and one action button – and the beauty of this game is that is all you need.

The familiar special stages make their first appearance on the iPhone in Sonic 4, though with an exciting unique-to-the-device twist.

There are four zones in the game, two of which are unique to iOS devices (no word yet on whether they will be included in the other versions of the game). You can play each act in two modes – Score Attack and Time Attack – so this is the kind of app you’ll spend plenty of time on should you play it all the way through.

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The only complaint I can muster up is in regard to the price. Assuming there are two episodes in all, gamers are looking at spending $20 on the full version of Sonic 4. That’s a risky proposition for a device that specializes in 99-cent hits.

But there is plenty of content to back up that price, and I cannot imagine any fan of the series arguing otherwise. Sonic 4 is exactly the kind of game that made you fall in love with this hedgehog in the first place, a side-scrolling platformer that plays at an unreal speed.

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